Looking to construct a matrix or use square brackets in a formula? Having to make changes to a direct quotation? Find out here **how to insert square brackets in Word** for Windows and Mac in both text and equations.

## First, How to Break Shaken Bread

Dry and crisp *Schüttelbrot* popular in South Tyrol and parts of Austria is never cut.

If, in fact, you try to cut the aromatic rye bread, you’ll quickly discover there’s not much point in trying.

Literally *shaken bread* (from *schütteln*, to shake, and *Brot*, bread), the flat round loaves are placed upside down on the table instead. You’ll find that you don’t even have to shake then; firmly pressing down in it is enough to produce artistically shaped pieces that go formidably with speck and mountain cheese.

Now, need to “break” something in a quotation? Press firmly on the following keys to insert square brackets for just that purpose in Word:

## How to Insert Square Brackets ( [ ] ) in Word

### Word for Windows and Mac as well as Word Online

Time needed: 1 minute

To insert square brackets ( [ ] ) into text using Microsoft Word (for both Windows and Mac as well as iPhone, iPad, and Android):

**Position the text cursor where you want to insert the square brackets.****Use the operating system’s keyboard to insert square brackets.****Mac**: Type Square Brackets ( [ ] ) on a Mac**Windows**: Type Square Brackets ( [ ] ) on Windows**iOS**: Type Square Brackets on an iPhone**Alternatives: You can also use the***Symbol*dialog and Unicode input if the keyboard refuses to insert square brackets; see below.**Formulae**: Word also lets you use brackets in mathematical formulae; also see below.

#### Add Square Brackets Using the Word Symbol Dialog

To add square brackets using the *Symbol* dialog in Microsoft Word for Mac or Windows:

- Go to the
*Insert*tab on the Word ribbon. - Select
*Symbol | More Symbols…*(Windows) or*Symbol | Advanced Symbols*(Mac) in the ribbon’s*Symbols*section. - Go to the
*Symbols*tab. - Select
*(normal text)*for the*Font:*. - Find
*[*immediately after*Z*, and*]*following not far behind.**Subset**: On Windows, you can select*Basic Latin*as the*Subset:*to navigate quickly. - Double-click the square bracket characters to insert them.

## How to Insert Square Brackets in Word Equations

To use square brackets in formulae and equations (for matrices, for instance) with Word for Windows and Word for Mac:

- Go to the
*Insert*tab on the ribbon. - Select
*Equation*in the*Symbols*section.**Word keyboard shortcut**: You can also press`Control``=`(Mac) or`Alt``=`(Windows) to start composing an equation. - Make sure the
*Equation*tab is active on the ribbon. - Insert regular square brackets (for vectors, for instance) using the
*Bracket*menu in the ribbon.**Using the keyboard**: Inserting brackets with the keyboard (as above) also works here. - Insert square brackets for matrices using
*Matrix | Matrices with Brackets*and*Sparces Matrices*in the ribbon.**Don’t use the keyboard**: Adding a matrix to brackets inserted with the keyboard does not work as you cannot properly stretch the square brackets’ height to match the matrix.

**Word for iOS and Android**: While you can add new equations and see formulae, you cannot add new matrices or edit existing matrices with square brackets.

**Word Online at Office.com**: In Word Online, you can see existing equations but not edit them or add new ones.

#### Edit Matrices

To change the formatting and size of a bracketed matrix in Word:

- Click any cell with the right mouse button and select
*Insert | Insert…*from the context menu to add columns or rows. - Right-click and select
*Delete | Delete…*to remove columns or rows from the matrix. - Select a matrix (using the three-dots handle in its top left corner), then right-click it and select
*Stretch Brackets*so it is enabled.

## How to Insert Square Brackets in Word: FAQ

### How can I remove square brackets from an equation in Word?

To remove square brackets from a matrix in a Word equation:

- Highlight the matrix with the three dots handle in its top left corner.
- Click on the highlighted matrix with the right mouse button.
- Select
*Remove Enclosing Characters*from the context menu.**Just one bracket**: Use*Remove Opening Bracket*and*Remove Closing Bracket*to delete just one half of the square brackets.

Delete square brackets not part of a matrix using the `Del` or `Backspace` keys.

## How to Insert Square Brackets in LaTeX

In LaTeX, you can insert square brackets in text and single-line mathematics just so: `[`

and `]`

.

To insert square brackets so they automatically expand with the height of the mathematical expression, use `\left`

and `\right`

immediately before them.

### Example

A_{3\times3} = \left[ \begin{array}{ccc} a_{11} & a_{12} & a_{13} \\ a_{21} & a_{22} & a_{23} \\ a_{31} & a_{32} & a_{33} \end{array} \right]

results in this:

${A}_{\mathrm{3\times 3}}=\left[\begin{array}{ccc}{a}_{11}& {a}_{12}& {a}_{13}\\ {a}_{21}& {a}_{22}& {a}_{23}\\ {a}_{31}& {a}_{32}& {a}_{33}\end{array}\right]$

(as reproduced using HTML) or

(as an image).

Amsmath, of course, also lets you construct matrices.

**Not in Word**: Note that Word’s equation editor, even set to LaTeX, will not let you set up matrices with the code above.

*(How to insert square brackets in Word tested with Word for Microsoft 365 Version 2306–2402; first published January 2022, last updated March 2024)*